Most travelers head to Busan for beaches, shopping, and regional culinary specialties. But the southern coastal Korean city also offers some fantastic hiking, with accessible trails available for just about every fitness level. Here are some of the best.
A popular weekend spot with hikers from all over the peninsula, 634-meter-high Jangsan boasts a variety of well-maintained trails that are divvied up according to difficulty level. Choose one to the top (which takes about two hours to reach) or the midpoint, depending on your fitness level. In addition to offering spectacular ocean views, the mountain’s expansive silver grass fields, which are their most beautiful in October to mid-November, is a sight to be seen. Reflecting the sun, the grass creates a silver wave effect that reaches out as far as the horizon.
The Igidae Park path follows the coastline and offers gorgeous views of both the ocean and the cliffs that tower over it. While the trail contains numerous stairs, it is well-maintained and well-marked with clear signage. The hike can also be combined with Busan’s Skywalk, a see-through glass bridge built above the sea and cliffs. Reserve about two and a half hours for the trail if hiking at a moderate pace.
Looking for an easy morning hike? Then take an hour to explore Geumnyeongsan Mountain. Void of the crowds you’ll find on bigger mountains like Jangsan, Geumnyeongsan is a peaceful spot to take in nice views of the sea, Marina City skyscrapers, and Gwangan Bridge. It also only takes an hour to reach the peak, so it can easily be squeezed into a tight sightseeing itinerary.
The beauty of Geumjeong Mountain hits it peak between late October and mid-November, when fallen leaves create a fiery forest carpet. The Geumjeongsanseong fortress area can be easily accessed by bus or foot through Beomeosa Temple, where the trail to the mountain commences. Follow the English signage along the ridge to the top of Geumjeongsan, where a gorgeous view of the entire city awaits you.
Although hiking enthusiasts might not consider Taejongdae an actual hiking trail – there’s an asphalt road that leads all the way to the lookout spot – it’s a beautiful place to soak up Busan’s natural beauty. The walk around the park is approximately four kilometers in length, and features gorgeous sea views, large cliffs, and a lighthouse that you can visit.
Standing some 500 meters tall, Seunghaksan in western Busan is certainly not the tallest mountain, but it is one of the most picturesque. Shaped like a crane in flight – a likeness from which it takes its name – Seunghaksan boasts well-maintained trails that stretch through silver grass fields and cedar tree forests. On your descent, explore Gudeok Flower Village, which is bedecked in colorful mural paintings and outdoor art installations.